An Analysis of The Alpha Strike
Created by Shadow Panther
Posted: 03-27-2003 10:09 AM

Q: What is an Alpha Strike?
A: It is a manuever where a Mech quickly fires all of its weapons in succession, dealing maximum damage in the shortest possible time. In MechAssault, this is achieved by holding down the firing trigger while rapidly hitting the trigger that cycles through your weapons.

When playing MechAssault, the object of the game is to destroy other Mechs. In individual play, you are scored based on the number of kills you make. If you whittle away at a Mech until it is almost dead but then someone comes along and "steals your kill", you are out of luck. To score the most kills possible, you want to make sure that you are always getting in the final shot. Using a Mech with an effective Alpha Strike can help you secure those kills.

Some Mechs are better at Alpha Strikes than others. Heat management plays a big part in this, but weapon configurations are also important to consider. Certain weapons, like PPCs and Warhammers, can only be used as the starting weapon in an Alpha Strike, because they have charges/timers. This makes them worthless when trying to fire multiple Alpha Strikes. Other weapons, like Machine Guns and Pulse Lasers, can be used in continuous Alpha Strikes, but they contribute very little damage per shot.

Mechs with the best Alphas Strikes would be those that have non-charging weapons that deal significant damage each time they are fired. Weapons that are ideal for Alpha Strikes would be Lasers, Autocannons, Gauss Rifles, Crossbow Missiles, Javelin Missiles, and Lava Cannons.

Some Mechs can fire more damaging Alpha Strike combos than others. The Mech with the most powerful Alpha Strike is the Ymir. As long as you are sufficiently cooled down, and have charged up its PPCs, this Mech can unleash all three weapons for 2,500+ points of damage (depending upon weapon levels.) However, the charging mechanism of the PPCs prevent the Ymir from quickly following up with additional Alpha Strikes. Not only that, but the large amount of heat generated by these weapons, coupled with the Ymir's horrible Cooldown Rate, make Alpha Strikes difficult to perform with any regularity. For these reasons, the Ymir can't really be considered an "Alpha Strike Mech."

The most effective Alpha Strike Mech would probably be the Ragnarok. When comparing the Ragnarok's Alpha Strike potential to that of the Ymir, the Rag has the clear advantage. A Ragnarok does not have to charge its weapons, which allows them to be fired continuously until the Rag overheats. Each of the Ragnarok's Alpha Strikes deals 2,300 - 2,900 points of damage, which is only slightly less than that of the Ymir. Other Mechs with powerful Alpha Strikes combos include the Atlas and Timber Wolf.

Some Mechs rely less on the power of their Alpha Strikes, but rather focus more on the frequency of attacks. If you overheat within seconds, then you can't keep performing Alpha Strikes. Many of the lighter "Chicken Mechs" have the ability to rapidly fire multiple Alpha Strikes at their enemies before they overheat. However, their Alpha Strike combos deal less damage due to having weaker weapons. When you want to score that all-important killing blow, a quick burst of intense damage is most effective.

Listed below are the minimum and maximum Alpha Strike damage values for each Mech (minimum when all weapons are at Level 1, maximum when they're at Level 3.)

*Ymir: 2500/3167
Ragnarok: 2330/2917
*Prometheus: 1481/2583
*Bowman: 1027/1807
*Mad Cat: 1042/1743
*Summoner: 689/1147
*Uziel: 665/1118
Timber Wolf: 631/1098
Atlas: 660/1064
Vulture: 549/936
Belial: 489/846
*Kit Fox: 444/766
*Puma: 429/734
Catapult: 460/731
Thor: 298/541
Hackman: 309/533
Cougar: 330/532
Mad Dog: 301/515
Uller: 172/311
Raven: 150/272
Owens: 129/234
Corvus: 130/199
Elemental: 102/174

*Mechs that cannot continuously fire Alpha Stikes due to having PPCs or Warhammers.